The opioid crisis is getting worse. Overdose deaths from opioids have increased by more than 500 percent since 1999. More than 115 people in the U.S. die every day from opioids. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has declared a statewide disaster emergency three times in 2018 to deal with the overdose crisis.
The impact of opioid abuse is widespread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, which includes health care, lost productivity and justice involvement.
Still not convinced? Americans have been swamped with these types of statistics for years. The reality is that many have become numb to the growing problem.
How do we get people to care about a crisis that has been going on for years. with no end in sight?
Put detox on display.
The “Treatment Box” campaign decided to show the reality of detox. truth created a cube-shaped video box, which allowed passersby in New York City to watch a 26-year-old woman facing her first three days off opioids.
The footage was shocking and gritty. Rebekkah’s hands shook. She cried out in pain. But she slowly got better. Watching a woman recover in her bed was an extremely potent experience. Some passersby sat on the street and hugged each other while watching her recovery.
The brand turned some of the footage into a 60-second video, which earned media support from SoundCloud, Spotify, Vice, NBCU, Viacom, Snapchat, YouTube and other platforms.
What they said:
“If making my detox public is going to help somebody, I’m all for it,” said Rebekkah, in the case study video for “Treatment Box.”
Lessons to be learned:
Create something. — Eighty-six percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, according to a survey by Stackla. Millennial consumers highly prefer “real and organic” over “perfect and packaged.” Many brands have embraced this by creating real-life experiences and later turning them into marketing campaigns. “Treatment Box” captured an authentic experience and reactions. (Yes, we’ve talked about this type of marketing a lot. You can find examples here, here and here.)
Tell a different story. — Adweek points out that we often see opioid abuse through the lens of aftermath — stories of those who were lost to addiction or those who have already recovered. “Treatment Box” shows the harsh reality of the recovery process. It brings the audience face to face with addiction, withdrawal and treatment to create an unforgettable experience.
Pick a different subject. — Rebekkah’s story doesn’t follow the typical drug abuse narrative. She was a very young dancer who became addicted while recovering from surgery. Rebekkah became hooked on heroin after taking painkillers for several months. Her story helps expand the audience to people who might have never thought of themselves as potential opioid addicts. Rebekkah’s story is aligned with the public’s changing perception of these addicts. Former President Barack Obama told CNN: “What’s starting to change is that the opioid crisis is getting into communities that are suburban, that are relatively well-to-do, rural communities, white communities…”